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Dempsey: Generals Shouldn't Endorse Candidates

Image: Dempsey: Generals Shouldn't Endorse Candidates
Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 01 Aug 2016 12:45 PM

Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey says two of his former high-ranking colleagues made a "mistake" by speaking at last month's political conventions.

In a letter to the Washington Post, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff laid into John Allen, a retired Marine general, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for breaking with the the tradition of the U.S. military to remain apolitical.

Allen endorsed Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, while Flynn showed his support of Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention. 

"Politicians should take the advice of senior military leaders but keep them off the stage," Dempsey writes. "The American people should not wonder where their military leaders draw the line between military advice and political preference."

"And our nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines should not wonder about the political leanings and motivations of their leaders."

Allen and Flynn "have just made the task of their successors — who continue to serve in uniform and are accountable for our security — more complicated," he argues. "It was a mistake for them to participate as they did. It was a mistake for our presidential candidates to ask them to do so."

But Dempsey himself has offered views that could be considered political, even while in uniform, Military.com reports

"I think we've been a bit distracted recently on the way we've been talking about the world and talking about the homeland," Dempsey said last month in an interview with National Public Radio

"I mean, we've seemed as though we've kind of pushed ourselves to the ideological edges, and where we really need to be is in the middle. And so I am concerned."

Military.com also notes senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle, have occasionally used hearings in attempts to draw out the Pentagon's leadership on statements made by the candidates.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, for example, spoke in general terms without mentioning Trump's name when asked about waterboarding and torture — for which Trump has expressed support — at an Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in March

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Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey says two of his former high-ranking colleagues made a mistake by speaking at last month's political conventions.
martin dempsey, military, generals, endorse, candidates
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Monday, 01 Aug 2016 12:45 PM
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